Born global and the secret sauce

Every day I wake up and think about where I can add value to the projects I’m working on. In my world unless you have that little extra bit the “pixie dust” as I call it you may as well outsource yourself.

Of course not everyone can but it is a smart thing to work out where your specific mix of products, services and culture will hit the right target at the right time.

I often think about the story I heard long ago about concrete trucks in Mexico city. The story goes that once the concrete is mixed you have a finite amount of time to get to a site but given the vagaries of traffic and roads in Mexico city it is more efficient to just keep driving around the city rather than staying at the depot. A bit counter intuitive but it works.

Then by using GPS and smart systems to track where the closest load of concrete is that business can use what amounts to a chaos algorithm to beat the clock and the competition by turning up first. Chaos surfing is a great idea and as a strategy is not for the faint hearted.

New Zealand suffers from its remoteness to large scale markets but we can use our small size as a test lab to track insights into markets and products before we scale up off shore.

Latipay is a payment gateway company who have a giantkiller product. They enable Chinese consumers and businesses to use their local online wallets and local banks to make payments directly from Chinese Yuan into overseas currencies to make payments.

That sounds simple but that market is typically smothered in financial regulations and international barriers. The big players – banks and companies like PayPal have no real incentive to make it any easier for consumers or exporters.

Latipay was born global to address the payments problems in the Chinese market and in less than 3 years they have proved that an opportunity of that scale is attractive to Chinese banks and anyone wanting to trade with Chinese businesses.

What I really liked about the Latipay story is the way that CEO described the business as having not just a transaction system but a “painting” – a kind of conceptual schematic which contains the IP and the cultural understandings necessary to sign up new business and scale up fast. Knowing how to partner well is also a key element of the scaling process.

That combination of being born global and being able to operate at a very nuanced level on all of the layers in the business puzzle is indeed a secret sauce.

PS. Here is a chart on the Chinese mobile payments market from the
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Internet Trends 2017 Report. 300 Pages